The Missouri Tigers have one last shot for their season to not be considered a disappointment.
After Saturday's, uh, surprising loss to the rival Kansas Jayhawks in Kansas City, Gary Pinkel's No. 13 Tigers will return to Arrowhead Stadium for next week's Big 12 Championship. They need to win to avoid a, well, lame bowl game.
Pinkel has turned around the attitude at Mizzou, but the Tigers are now just 5-3 in the Big 12. Many fans will agree they could, and should, have beat Oklahoma State in Columbia and the Jayhawks Saturday.
For a season that started with a Sports Illustrated cover and a top-5 ranking, this team has simply not lived up to expectations. Perhaps Mizzou was overhyped -- think about the teams they have beat.
In any result with a win Saturday in the Big 12 Championship game, Mizzou would not only pull off an upset but remove the " underachieving" label certain to be associated with the 2008 squad for years to come if they lose this week. With a win, Mizzou will head to their first BCS Bowl, something last seasons team was unable to accomplish.
Chase Daniel also needs this win for his own legacy.
Quarterbacks are given too much credit after wins and too much blame after losses, but Daniel has not been on top of his game for the Tigers toughest games this season, and added another 3 turnovers today. His interception on the first drive of the game really set a tone.
The seniors on this team, especially Daniel, TE Chase Coffman and DB William Moore, along with Pinkel, made Missouri football relevant again -- no small feat.
With a win Saturday, they will be back in the spotlight. They have worked too hard to finish their careers in the Fillintheblank.com Bowl.
Michael Bittner is a journalism student at the University of Missouri at Columbia.